Serie A: Dybala leads Juve to win, Fiorentina draws late

Associated Press
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Paulo Dybala has his first goal streak of the season and Juventus won its third match in a row with a 1-0 victory over Bologna. Dybala, who has struggled in front of net this season, scored in the 3-0 win over Frosinone last time out and bagged the game’s only goal on Sunday. Juventus also struggled, with just 50% possession and a massive 18-6 shot deficit, but Dybala came off the bench for the final half-hour to grab the win.

A cross by Blaise Matuidi in the 67th minute was cut out by Filip Helander, but his clear only reached Dybala at the top of the box in space, and the Argentinian rifled into the back of the net for the lead. Juventus goalkeeper Mattia Perin was also required to preserve the win, stopping a spectacular curler from Nicola Sansone in added time. The three points great Juventus’s lead to 13 points ahead of Napoli’s match.

Napoli kept pace at the top, closing the gap back to 10 behind Juventus as they topped Parma 4-0 behind a brace from Arkadiusz Milik. The opener came from essentially nothing, with Piotr Zielinski given the ball at a tight angle on the right and Bruno Alves failed to challenge with any sincerity, leaving the Polish international to slot home into the far post. Napoli doubled the lead just as easy past the half-hour mark as Milk took a free-kick from straight on and just slid it under the wall and inside the unmanned right post.

Milik scored his second with 17 minutes to go, and that was followed by Napoli’s fourth from Bordeaux youth product Adam Ounas, Milik’s substitute with 10 minutes remaining. Despite Juve’s massive lead, Napoli has lost just one league match since the start of October, but the Sunday victory is big as it eases fans who watch a pair of 0-0 draws in league play prior to this result.

Elsewhere, Fiorentina scored 16 seconds into the match and Inter equalized five minutes later, paving the way for a wild one as both teams came from behind in a 3-3 draw. Straight off the kickoff, a long ball forward from deep fell to a streaking Federico Chiesa, and for some reason Samir Handanovic came way off his line to challenge. That left Chiesa to touch across to Giovanni Simeone with no one in net, and with Stefan de Vrij challenging the cross, he touched it into his own net for the opener. It only took Inter until the sixth minute to level things up, an equally messy goal. A poor corner saw an even poor clearance, and Radja Nainggolan just pumped the ball back into the box for Matias Vecino to rifle home against his old club on the volley.

Inter went ahead just before halftime as Matteo Politano created his own opening, cutting back onto his left at the top of the box and whipping in a curling delivery that found the back of the net past a helpless Alban Lafont. They doubled the lead thanks to VAR as the referee checked the monitor and awarded a penalty for a handball by Edimilson Fernandes on a free-kick delivery. Ivan Perisic dispatched the spot-kick and sent Inter into a 3-1 lead.

Fiorentina set the crowd alight with a Cristiano Biraghi free-kick firecracker 16 minutes from time, and the electric Stadio Artemio Franchi crowd spurred its team to a late result. In the 95th minute, the referee gave a penalty for handball, and despite a long VAR check, he stuck with his controversial decision. Jordan Veretout deposited the penalty in the 101st minute, and Fiorentina completed the two-goal comeback. The dramatic finish means Inter now sits more precariously in third, just two points ahead of fourth-placed AC Milan.

Fabio Quagliarella buried an unstoppable penalty after the hour mark and Sampdoria topped Cagliari 1-0 at Stadio Luigi Ferraris. The visitors managed just one single shot on target, and they were soundly beaten, lucky not to concede more as the hosts missed a pair of big chances to score more, including Quagliarella who saw a close-range attempt smartly saved on the doorstep just minutes before his penalty.

SPAL went on the road and earned an important point in the relegation battle as they drew 1-1 with Sassuolo. Federico Peluso met a corner with his left foot to pummel home the opener just before halftime to put the home side up, but VAR was utilized in the 66th minute to help bring terms back level. Sergio Floccari went flying in the box during a set-piece delivery, and came up screaming that he was pushed. There was initially no call, but the referee went to the monitor and awarded the spot-kick. Andrea Petagna stepped up and buried it into the top corner and SPAL went four points above the drop. They nearly won it minutes later as Felipe headed a corner across the face of goal to the far corner, but it came off the post and out.

Chievo Verona and Genoa combined for 20 shots, but created very few real chances as the two sides drew 0-0. It was an especially disappointing result for Genoa who generated just a single shot on target against the last-placed team in the Serie A table.